Homeless German Shepherd With Rare Defect Opens A New Life Chapter After Surgery


Saving a stray dog from the street isn’t always easy, as it requires resources and proper management, but it’s definitely worth it! 

The story of Rett, the stray German Shepherd, begins on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland, where he was found by the local animal control. 

Unfortunately, this GSD was born a little different, with a rare birth defect called megaesophagus. As this was an uncommon disorder that couldn’t be treated in a local hospital, the good people of Baltimore decided to find another solution…

Harford County Sheriff’s Office’s animal control spotted the dog

german shepherd standing and looking at the camera
Source: Fox Baltimore

Animal control for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland, found the stray German Shepherd on the street, not knowing that he was born with a very rare defect. 

After the officers took it to the Humane Society of Harford County, the puppy was physically examined and irregularities were noticed. He refused to eat any kind of food they’d give him and he seemed like he was in too much pain whenever he moved.

The HSHC staff decided to take it to the local Pleasantville Animal Hospital for further examination. Doctor Michael, from the PAH, performed a barium study on this stray dog, after which he detected a very rare condition called megaesophagus.

The Hospital Staff Detected A Rare Birth Defect

X-ray of a German Shepherd
Source: Fox Baltimore

Even though megaesophagus is a common condition and well-known to all veterinarians, the very cause of this condition in Rett was abnormal. 

According to Fox Baltimore, “Rhett suffers from a heart condition named persistent right aortic arch (PRAA) in which a branch off the aorta that would normally dissolve at birth stays wrapped around the esophagus.” This particular condition happens to 0.1 percent of all dogs.

Unfortunately, the staff from the Pleasantville hospital couldn’t help this poor boy as his condition required a surgical specialist. The tricky part was that the procedure needed to be done as soon as possible, as Rett was in really bad condition.

Finding Help Wasn’t Easy

a man holds a stray German shepherd in his arms
Source: Fox Baltimore

After the HSHC team contacted local specialists who couldn’t see Rett right away, and the estimates were around $8000, they realized they needed to resort to another solution.

That’s where Bob, the director of the HSHC stepped in. He himself decided to reach out to Stephen Arbitter, an experienced specialist in Georgia who he knew. Even though it was a long shot, Dr. Stephen said yes.

They immediately organized Rett’s trip to Georgia and made sure he got there in record time. Surgery lasted for three hours, but in the end, it was successful and Rett’s life was saved.

Rett Seeks A Furever Home

german shepherd sitting on the grass with his tongue out
Source: The Baltimore Sun

The morning after the exhaustive surgery, Rett had a small meal for the first time in a while. From now on, he has to eat only the prescribed amount of critical-care food until he fully recovers.

He’s still in recovery, as he needs to start gaining weight again. He weighed only around 25 pounds when he was taken in by HSHC at 8 months of age. At that age, a GSD should be at least 50 pounds heavy.

When the time is right, Rett will definitely come back to Maryland to find his furever family. We hope he finds the pawfect home where he’ll be a happy, loved boy!